photos by vakis boutsalis/for metro toronto


Avenue bartender Yared Mahretab concocts Little Miss Sunshine, left, and Letters From Iwo Jima, right, two of the five Oscar-inspired martinis the bar has made available for Sunday night’s Academy Awards.


The Academy Awards are as much about who can throw the best party as they are about who won best picture.

Whether it’s the infamous Vanity Fair parties in Los Angeles, or the low-key fun of a living room soiree, party organizers have to make sure that everything is in order come Sunday night.

At the top of the list of things to look after is the cocktail menu. What drinks are served could go a long way in determining the success of a party.

Avenue’s Oscar-themed martinis, Little Miss Sunshine, far right, and Letters From Iwo Jima.

In the spirit of the awards, local bars This Is London, the site of Inside Entertainment and Lancome Paris’ official Oscar party, and Avenue, Yorkville’s trendy hot spot in the lobby of the Four Season’s Hotel, offer a selection of cocktails from their own movie-inspired drink menus.

Every Oscar night starts with the endless clothes parade that is the red carpet. So what better way to start your party than with Inside E’s Marie Antoinette-inspired corsettini. This colourful martini is made with Grey Goose L’orange vodka shaken with a lemon, passion fruit juice and strawberry puree, and is garnished with a strawberry slice dipped in gold-leaf (sugar will suffice if you don’t happen to have any gold leaf lying around).

The Scientific and Technical Awards is every bit as important as the traditional Oscars, but it doesn’t exactly make for good television (that is why they’re held one week earlier). Nod your head to the geeks of movie-making with a classic Grey Goose vodka martini, flavoured with Noilly Prat vermouth and garnished with olives or a lemon twist.

Clint Eastwood has become a staple of the best director category, so give a toast to Dirty Harry with Avenue’s Eastwood-inspired Letters From Iwo Jima Martini. All you need is Gekkeikan sake, soho lychee and lemon juice for this Japanese style drink.

And, save the best for last by giving one of this year's surprise best picture nominations some time to shine. Avenue’s Little Miss Sunshine Martini is made from Red Passion Alize, peach schnapps, passionfruit puree, peach puree and champagne. The movie may not be expected to win the big prize, but the drink just might be the tastiest of the night.

painting the town red on awards night

For those who want to party but don’t want the hassle of organizing their own soirées, there will be several bars in the city hosting Oscar-themed nights:

  • Manyata Courtyard Café (Hazelton Lanes in Yorkville) will be hosting Oscar Goes To Africa, an HIV/AIDS benefit put on by the Steve Louis Foundation. A $100 donation is required. Reserve online at

  • Zembra Lounge (778 St. Clair Ave. W.) is the west-side of mid-town’s unofficial Oscar destination. Call 416-651-3123 for more.

  • There’s no better way to watch a celebration of the big screen than on a big screen. Doors open at the Bloor Cinema (506 Bloor St. W.) at 7 p.m.

  • The Drake Hotel’s (1150 Queen St. W.) weekend-long ode to the Oscars ends Sunday with a live taping of the 10th Annual Reel-to-Real Movie Awards special. Call 416-531-5042 for more.

  • A Buzztime Movie Awards game will be taking place alongside the awards show at the Mackenzie Bar and Grill (1729 Bloor St. W.). Call 416-769-7606 for more.